Clashes between gold prospectors in northern Chad last week left some 100 dead and at least 40 wounded, The country’s Defense Minister, Daoud Yaya Brahim, reported this Monday. All informal mining operations have been suspended and people have been evacuated from the site, he added.
The clashes, which took place on May 23 and 24 in an informal gold mine of Kouri Bougoudi, near the Libyan border, began with “a trivial fight between two people that got out of hand,” General Brahim, present at the scene, said by telephone. Clashes between gold prospectors that followed left “some 100 dead and at least 40 wounded,” he added.
The Chadian government sent a fact-finding mission to the site on May 25 to assess the unrest and restore calm, saying at the time, in the words of Communications Minister Adberaman Koulamallah, that there had been “human losses and several injuries”, but without giving figures. “The death toll that we established after our ground mission reaches around 100 dead,” Brahim said today.
The region, located in the vast mountainous and desert massif of Tibesti, difficult to access, is full of mines exploited often clandestinely by a multitude of miners from all over the country and from neighboring states, such as Libya, Niger and Sudan. “This is not the first time that there have been clashes between gold prospectors in the region and we decided to suspend until further notice any gold mining in Kouri, knowing that the vast majority are illegal,” Brahim said. According to him, the clashes were between people from Mauritania and Libya.